The judgment of James at the Jerusalem Council (see Acts 15:13-21) was followed by another encouraging gesture on the part of the Jerusalem church. They sealed their approval of the work of Paul and Barnabas by sending with them to Antioch two of their number—Judas called Barsabas, thought by some scholars to be the brother of Joseph Barsabas mentioned in Acts 1:23—and Silas, sometimes called Silvanus. Not only so, but they gave them an open letter to "the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia" to the effect that there was no need for them to bear the burden of full conformity to Jewish law; all that the Church asked of them was the fulfillment of some minimal regulations. The full text of this very important letter is reported in Acts 15:23-29.
Thus Paul had won his second great victory in the cause of Gentile Christianity. He had vindicated the freedom of the gospel and the work already accomplished among the non-Jewish adherents to the faith, while preparing the way for his further activities as the great missionary of the Church.
On the return of Paul and Barnabas to Antioch with Judas and Silas, and the public reading of the letter, there was naturally much rejoicing among the Gentiles. All four delegates preached there successfully. (See w. 30-35.)